I'm willing to admit that the prospect of making millions of dollars a year by only working a few hours a week is as appealing to me as the next guy. Unfortunately, my overwhelming skepticism that such a thing exists always rains on my parade. But when I heard that a free "Rich Dad Education" seminar was in town, I still couldn't resist attending. These types of seminars are based on Robert Kiyosaki's best seller, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," and several others.
As I signed up for the course, I found myself somewhat motivated by the quote on the web site "All of us have the power of choice. I choose to be rich and make that choice every day." A pretty good choice, as far as choices go.
What I learned in my free education
My education was supposed to start at six p.m. I arrived shortly before and registered but found the doors to the room closed. They opened the doors promptly at six and directed us in rows to specific seating. It was like a ceremony as a song was playing with the words "if I had a million dollars, I'd be rich."
The anticipation was building, and continued to build as we all sat around for another 18 minutes before things got started. A spokesperson stood up and noted no recordings could be made and stated he would be respectful of our time. I guess he must not have had a working watch.
The main speaker wasn't Robert Kiyosaki, it was Jessie Conners, former contestant on NBC's The Apprentice and author of Nightmare Nation. She started out by asking the audience "Are you ready to make some money?" When the audiences' yes response wasn't loud enough, she asked again until things seemed more like a church revival with heads nodding up and down.
The message coming across to me was that Robert Kiyosaki was all about "what's hot in the market now." She boldly predicted that real estate was poised to make a dramatic comeback, and gave examples of deals she had recently made and noted the great bargains and cash flows that came from it. Conners also said that the best deals were in the mid west rather than Colorado Springs, where this education was taking place. Apparently not a big deal, because we could build teams of staff working with us and it was best not to be too close to the investment anyways.
The goal was to build passive income. Conners shared with the group that she doesn't like to spend more than three hours a week. She prefers to travel.
Then came the real sale - a three day training course on real estate investing. But, to attend, we would have to do a homework assignment. I would have to write down the amount of monthly money I would like to have from passive income. That's it? I only have to say what I want to make? Well, watch out Bill Gates, because the monthly amount has lots of zeros, and this $495 training class was going to teach me how to get there, working only three hours a week.
And even though the $495 would go up to $995 if I didn't sign right then and there, I decided I had heard enough and walked out after the first hour. I won't be signing up for the course, but thanks to a hidden camera by Canada's investigative consumer show, Marketplace, we can all see that it likely was largely a sales presentation for their more advanced courses that cost up to $45,000.
Rich Dad Academy - the rest of the story
I'm not arguing that it can't be the opportunity of a lifetime in real estate right now. In fact, I recently bought a rental property at about a 60 percent discount from the last sale. But, peel away the emotions and let's look at the facts.
Conners' message that Kiyosaki is about investing in what's hot is supported by a 2007 MarketWatch column by Chuck Jaffe naming the Rich Dad Academy the Stupid Investment of the Week. Remember back in 2007 when conventional wisdom was that real estate could never decline in value? Missing from the presentation were those that, based on the Rich Dad lessons, lost all of the real estate they bought when it was hot. I'm sure it was just an oversight.
Next comes the lessons of passive investing. I know I don't have the temperament to be a landlord. Probably because my friends that are get calls at two o'clock in the morning from their tenant's when their furnace goes on the fritz, or the drain backs up creating a flood. That's not passive income in my book. Of course I could hire someone to manage this for me, but doing so costs a lot of money and they don't have the same incentives as I do.
Finally, let's discuss the ploy of only getting the discounted price of the training if you sign up at the session. In my book, if something is really good, especially if it's being pitched as "education," they will want you to ponder the pros and cons before jumping in.
If you want to be a millionaire working less than three hours a week, you narrow your options down to a mere two - Be part of a lucky gene pool and inherit it or, if that's not an option, try creating a sales system that teaches others how to be rich without working hard. You could be the next Robert Kiyosaki, with people flocking to your seminars, because common sense really isn't all that common.
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